A mentor of President Chen Shui-bian (
Professor Lee Hung-hsi (
Lee, a law professor at National Taiwan University who had taught Chen when he was a student there and has continued to provide him with advice throughout his political career, is now president of the Ketagalan Institute, a school founded by Chen last year with the aim of nurturing future leaders.
Lee recalled that in June 1960, he was sent to the outpost island to serve as a military judge. Then-US president Dwight Eisenhower arrived in Taiwan on June 18 that year, and Eisenhower and then-Taiwan president Chiang Kai-shek (
He said that China fired a total of 173,000 shells at Kinmen on June 17 and June 19 that year, adding that "I had mixed feelings revisiting the island after more than four decades."
Lee also said that he agreed with Kinmen Magistrate Lee Chu-feng's (
Kinmen could play the role of a "buffer zone and a revolving door" across the Taiwan Strait, he pointed out, adding that before direct trade and transportation links between Taiwan and China are established, the government could focus on improving the present "small three links" between the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu and the Chinese province of Fujian so as to avoid direct confrontations between the two sides.
He expressed the hope that both sides would seek the opportunity for cooperation through the exchanges and integration, adding that both sides now have an understanding of each other and have made compromises in their respective progress after years of such exchanges and integration.
"If the gap in national income, democratic development and human rights protection between the two sides gradually narrows, the cross-strait confrontation will sort itself out in due time," he said.
Lee, who arrived in Kinmen early yesterday to the warm welcome of Kinmen Magistrate Lee, also saluted in a ceremony the famous academic Chu Hsi (朱熹) from the Southern Sung Dynasty (1127-1278) who came to Kinmen to propagate his teachings. He also visited the island's military facilities and scenic spots.
Lee urged the Ketagalan faculty members to take notice of the impact of the "small three links" while they toured the island.
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